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Turner’s Tidbits …

By Susan Turner, MN, PhD, RN

Nursing has been more exciting than I expected. I have learned amazing things in every role I’ve had in 40 years as an RN — some lessons date back to when I was 16 years old and was working as a clinical nurse aide. Here, I share the most important lessons that have stayed with me and have become part of my everyday practice. I hope the next generation of nurses will find them useful.

Susan Turner, RN

Susan Turner, RN

…For all nurses

  • Keep your word. The fastest way to destroy a trusting relationship is to make a promise and then break it.
  • Don’t blow hot and cold. Consistency is essential. If you are positive one day and negative the next, the staff will not know how to react. Respect for you will dissipate.
  • Follow facility policies and procedures. As an expert witness since 1983, I can tell you that most cases of unprofessional conduct, malpractice or gross negligence involving RNs originate from failure to follow facility policies.
  • Don’t lose your cool in front of other staff or patients. Keep your emotions under control. Blowing up can destroy relationships.

…For future leaders

  • Never forget what it’s like to work in the trenches. Manage others the way you would like to be managed.
  • Be gracious and courteous. “Please,” “thank you” and “I appreciate your hard work,” are not said enough. It takes little time to be courteous, but the payback is endless.
  • Make building trust a priority. It is something that is earned. When employees trust their managers, they will do anything to help accomplish goals and objectives.
  • Relationship management matters. Management is all about managing relationships.
  • Accept that making the right decisions for your unit might make you unpopular with some of your staff.
  • If you ask staff members for their opinions, be prepared to listen to their suggestions. Then follow up with staff to discuss their feedback and how it was used.
  • Be visible on the unit and in patients’ rooms. You can learn more about what is happening on your unit in 10 minutes than you can in a month of meetings.
  • Delegate, then get out of the way. Some managers aren’t always willing to let someone else take the reins. Give clear goals and deadlines. Be available for guidance.
  • Empower others. Take on the role of facilitator and coach. Anyone can give advice, but it takes a good manager to empower employees to problem-solve on their own.
  • Communicate honestly and often. You may not always be able to share good news, but ongoing honest and effective communication is critical to your success.
  • Follow the 24-hour rule. Never make a difficult decision right away if you can avoid doing so. Considering your decision overnight may save you lots of trouble (or embarrassment) later.
  • Take on issue that will make the most difference to patient care, or that compromise your ethics or integrity. Ask yourself if this issue will make a difference in a year. If the answer is no, move on.
  • Remember that caring for patients is what matters most. It is easy to get lost in personnel, project and budget productivity issues. Always keep patients’ needs as your central priority; you will rarely be faulted for doing so.

Susan Turner, MN, PhD, RN, is president/CEO, Turner Healthcare Associates, Inc.

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By | 2015-08-05T20:34:48-04:00 March 9th, 2015|Categories: Education, Nurses stories|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sallie Jimenez
Sallie Jimenez is content manager for healthcare for Nurse.com published by Relias. She develops and edits content for the Nurse.com blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She also develops content for the Nurse.com Digital Editions. She has more than 24 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.

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